2008 Atlanta tornado outbreak

2008 Atlanta tornado outbreak

Infobox tornado outbreak
name = 2008 Atlanta tornado outbreak
image location = Atlanta tornado.jpg

date = March 14-15, 2008
duration = 21 hours, 50 minutes
fujitascale = EF3
tornadoes = 45 confirmed
total damages (USD) = >$250 million
total fatalities = 3
areas affected = Alabama, Georgia, Carolinas
enhanced = yes
The 2008 Atlanta tornado outbreak was a tornado outbreak that affected the Southeastern United States on March 14-15.

A tornado caused widespread damage across downtown Atlanta, including to the CNN Center and to the Georgia Dome, where the 2008 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament was postponed. Other buildings that were damaged include the Georgia World Congress Center, Philips Arena (during an Atlanta Hawks game), and the Omni Hotel, which was evacuated after many windows were blown out. Centennial Olympic Park , the SunTrust Tower and historic Oakland Cemetery were also damaged. [cite news | title = Tornado slams downtown Atlanta | publisher = CNN | date = March 14, 2008 | url = http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/03/14/storm.atlanta/index.html | accessdate = 2008-03-14] One man was killed near downtown Atlanta. [cite news | title = Body found in tornado rubble | publisher = Atlanta Journal-Constitution | date = March 22, 2008 | url = http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/atlanta/stories/2008/03/22/body_0323.html?cxntlid=homepage_tab_newstab | accessdate = 2008-03-22] Two other deaths took place on March 15 in the northern Atlanta suburbs from the second, larger round of severe weather and tornadoes. In total, 45 tornadoes were confirmed over the 24 hour period from eastern Alabama to the Carolina coast, with most of the activity concentrated in the Metropolitan Atlanta area, the Central Savannah River Area and the Midlands of South Carolina.

Meteorological synopsis

Atlanta tornado event

In their 9:00 pm EDT outlook, the Storm Prediction Center issued a slight risk of severe weather across portions of the southern United States from Oklahoma to Georgia, with a 2% risk area for tornadoes for the Atlanta area.cite web | last = Dial | title = Mar 15, 2008 0100 UTC Day 1 Convective Outlook | publisher = Storm Prediction Center | date = March 14, 2008 | url = http://spc.noaa.gov/products/outlook/archive/2008/day1otlk_20080315_0100.html | format = HTML | accessdate = 2008-03-14] A tornado warning was issued for Atlanta at 9:26 pm when the thunderstorm that caused the tornado was convert|6|mi|km|0 to the west of downtown, although no watches were in effect for the area due to the low probability and isolated nature of the storms.cite news | last = Schlabach | first = Mark | authorlink=Mark Schlabach | title = SEC tournament delayed as Georgia Dome sustains damage | publisher = ESPN.com | date = March 14, 2008 | url = http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=3294382 | accessdate = ]

A news conference held on March 15 confirmed that the tornado was a high-end EF2 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita scale. It touched down in the Vine City neighborhood of Atlanta, moving east-southeast into downtown as an EF1, and then strengthening into the Cabbagetown neighborhood, and into East Atlanta.cite news | title = Weather Service Confirms Tornado Hit Downtown Atlanta | publisher = WSB-TV (Atlanta) | date = March 15, 2008 | url = http://www.wsbtv.com/news/15600856/detail.html | accessdate = 2008-03-15] It had a path length of about convert|6|mi|km|abbr=on and was about convert|200|yd|m|abbr=on widecite news|title = Downtown Storm Was EF-2 Tornado; State of Emergency Declared|publisher = 11alive.com (Atlanta)|url = http://www.11alive.com/news/article_news.aspx?storyid=112950|accessdate = 2008-03-15]

The direction of the storm was unusual, drifting southward as it moved eastward, whereas most tornadic storms have a strong northward component along (or ahead of) a cold front. It also was unusual because it was not associated with such a squall line at all, but was an independent supercell drifting well ahead of the main storm system.

March 15 tornado event

Another tornado outbreak struck the southeast the following day. A moderate risk for severe storms was issued early in the morning, and maintained through the afternoon.cite web
last = Dial, Grams
title = Mar 15, 2008 0600 UTC Day 1 Convective Outlook
publisher = Storm Prediction Center
date = March 15, 2008
url = http://spc.noaa.gov/products/outlook/archive/2008/day1otlk_20080315_1200.html
format = HTML
accessdate = 2008-03-16
] However, by mid afternoon, areas of east-central Georgia and central South Carolina were upgraded to a high risk of severe storms due to the tornado threat.cite web
last = Broyles
title = Mar 15, 2008 2000 UTC Day 1 Convective Outlook
publisher = Storm Prediction Center
date = March 15, 2008
url = http://spc.noaa.gov/products/outlook/archive/2008/day1otlk_20080315_2000.html
format = HTML
accessdate = 2008-03-16
] cite web
title = SPC Day 1, 2 and 3 Convective Outlooks
publisher = Storm Prediction Center
date = February 14, 2006
url = http://spc.noaa.gov/misc/SPC_Prob_Conv_Otlk_Change_20060214.html
format = HTML
accessdate = 2008-03-16

Confirmed tornadoes

Tornado Chart

March 14 event

March 15 event

Atlanta tornado

CNN Center was seriously damaged including shattered windows and the Georgia World Congress Center sustained serious damage, as was the Omni Hotel, especially the bridge between the two hotel towers over Andrew Young International Boulevard. This complex lost 476 windows alone, closing the south tower to guests. The facades of the Georgia Dome and a Philips Arena parking garage also were damaged — both were hosting basketball games at the time.cite news | title = Storm Staggers Atlanta | language = English | publisher = CNN.com | date = March 14, 2008 | url = http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/03/15/storm.atlanta/index.html | accessdate = 2008-03-15 ] Two of the giant columns in Centennial Olympic Park were knocked down, and bits of insulation were stuck in trees.cite news | title = Daylight Reveals Storm's Fury | language = English | publisher = 11Alive.com | date = March 14, 2008 | url = http://www.11alive.com/news/article_news.aspx?storyid=112917 | accessdate = 2008-03-15 ] Trees on some other streets, where more closely-built skyscrapers cause a greater wind tunnel effect, were knocked completely down, despite being too early in spring to have the drag of any leaves. Glass was strewn across several streets, and Atlanta Police were keeping residents, hotel guests, and news crews away from buildings with loose glass, which continued to pose a danger into the night. Cars in the area also had windows blown out, and hotel and office furniture was found scattered about.

The Ritz Carlton, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Georgia-Pacific Building, SunTrust Tower (which over 60 people had to be relocated out of their offices due to the extensive damage), Equitable Building, and Georgia State University also had windows blown out (300 at Equitable alone), as did The Tabernacle (a former church with stained glass). The Georgia World Congress Center also sustained flooding while hosting a JROTC event and the Hinman Dental Meeting; Fox Sports Net took footage of a staircase in the new section of the complex that looked like a fountain with water cascading down it. The annual Atlanta Home Show and all other events were cancelled for the weekend in the GWCC complex, as was the Atlanta St. Patrick's Day Parade scheduled for the next day. WRAS FM at GSU was off the air for two days, though it was not stated whether its studio or tower sustained damage, or if this was due to security or safety concerns, or power outages. The historic Rialto Theatre at GSU also sustained roof damage, which in turn caused water damage inside.

Further east, Grady Hospital reported some damage to windows, and a brief power outage. Many of the injured were taken there, though many of them walked there and were treated in the emergency room for cuts due to glass. The King Memorial MARTA station was damaged and was being bypassed by trains, with buses rerouted to the next station on each side. Oakland Cemetery suffered major damage to monuments and to its huge oak and magnolia trees, and the caretaker found window blinds around the neck of a statue of a Civil War veteran buried there.

In the nearby Cabbagetown area, a brick loft building (well-known for the fire that occurred there in 1999, during its renovation from the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills, in which the crane operator was rescued by helicopter during live TV news coverage) lost part of its roof, and part of the top (fifth) floor. Another building at The Stacks on Boulevard partially collapsed; search and rescue personnel were unable to enter, but everyone was accounted for by the management within a few hours. [cite news | title = Atlanta tornado, victim search | publisher = WCBD.com | date = March 15, 2008 | url = http://www.wcbd.com/midatlantic/cbd/news.apx.-content-articles-CBD-2008-03-15-0010.html | accessdate = 2008-03-15]

When the tornado hit, a SEC tournament game between Mississippi State and Alabama was in progress at the Georgia Dome. The storm ripped panels from the exterior of the building and tore at least two holes in the roof of the Dome, causing insulation to fall and the scoreboard and catwalks suspended from the roof to sway. After a 64-minute delay, the game was completed, however the next scheduled game between Kentucky and Georgia was postponed. The remainder of the tournament games were played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum on the campus of Georgia Tech, with spectators restricted to team and conference personnel, media, team bands, and families of players only due to the much smaller size of the alternate venue. [cite web | title = Severe Storms Start Weekend | publisher = AccuWeather.com | date = March 15, 2008 | url = http://www.accuweather.com/news-top-headline.asp?partner=accuweather&traveler=0 | accessdate = 2008-03-15] At the nearby Phillips Arena, little disruption was noticed by the attendees during the game between the Hawks and the Los Angeles Clippers, even though damage occurred to the outside of the arena.

27 people have been treated for injuries. In addition, over 20 homes have been completely destroyed.cite news | title = Rescuers search for Atlanta tornado victims | publisher = CNN | date = March 15, 2008 | url = http://edition.cnn.com/2008/US/03/14/storm.atlanta/?imw=Y&iref=mpstoryemail | accessdate = 2008-03-15]

All of CNN's TV networks remained on the air, but on an upper floor the CNN library of videotapes was damaged. Live news coverage of the aftermath was carried on CNN International, in turn simulcast domestically on CNN until 1 am EDT. [cite news
title = Atlanta To Ask For Federal Disaster Aid | publisher = wsbtv.com | date = March 14, 2008 | url = http://www.wsbtv.com/news/15600856/detail.html | accessdate = 2008-03-15
] . CNN resumed broadcasting from their main newsroom at 6 am EDT, showing several parts of the newsroom with computer stations covered with tarps, the damaged atrium of CNN Center, and staff using trash cans and buckets to collect dripping rainwater to the right of the anchor desk due to the damaged roof. When more storms moved in later in the day, the network was forced to move all Atlanta on-camera operations to the CNN-I newsroom, while taped programming was shown for most of the day. [ [http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/cnn/cnn_the_f2_tornado__79976.asp TVNEWSER - CNN & The F2 Tornado] ]

The city received emergency assistance from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), Highway Emergency Response Operators (HEROs), Fulton and DeKalb counties (which Atlanta is in), and surrounding cities and counties. Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin also declared a state of emergency for the city, enabling it to seek disaster aid from FEMA. President Bush declared a major disaster on March 20. [ [http://www.fema.gov/news/event.fema?id=9550 FEMA: Georgia Severe Storms and Tornadoes ] ]

ee also

*List of North American tornadoes and tornado outbreaks
*List of tornadoes striking downtown areas
*Tornadoes of 2008


External links

* [http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0803/14/bn.01.html Possible Tornado Sweeps Through Atlanta - CNN Breaking News Transcript] - March 14, 2008
* [http://www.wsbtv.com/news/15600856/detail.html WSB's coverage of the tornado]
* [http://www.11alive.com/video/default_live.aspx?storyid=112936 WXIA's coverage of the tornado]
* [http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/myfox/pages/Home/Detail?contentId=6038509&version=11&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=TSTY&pageId=1.1.1 WAGA's coverage of the tornado]
* [http://www.cbs46.com/news/15603562/detail.html WGCL's coverage of the tornado]

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